Clean Water Act

Say goodbye to the mothball fleet

Settling litigation brought by environmental groups and later joined by state officials, the US Maritime Administration has agreed to remove the mothball fleet (also known as the ghost fleet) from Suisun Bay near San Francisco. The fleet consists of 52 obsolete warships that have been stored in the Bay for decades with little or no …

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EPA proposes to veto mountaintop removal project

Cross-posted at CPRBlog. EPA’s seesaw on mountaintop removal mining continues. Last time I wrote about this topic it was to note EPA’s approval of the Hobet 45 project. Today, EPA announced that it is proposing to veto the Spruce No. 1 project, as it had threatened last fall. Should EPA follow through on its proposal, …

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Settlement marks a step forward on ocean acidification*

Cross-posted at CPRBlog. As Cara and Dan have explained, ocean acidification is the other big climate change problem. As atmospheric CO2 levels rise, more CO2 dissolves in the oceans. That in turn increases ocean acidity, which changes the ecology of the seas, most obviously by reducing the ability of corals and a variety of other …

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Conservation deal just a sugar fix?

Cross-posted at CPRBlog When government decides that private economic activity needs to be restricted in order to preserve some part of nature, there are two basic ways to get that result — by demanding cooperation through regulation or by buying it through economic incentives or outright purchase. The second approach is often politically easier, but …

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NPDES permits on impaired waterways

Cross-posted at CPRBlog. Precisely what the Clean Water Act requires of point sources that discharge to already-polluted waterways has long been a point of confusion. Now, according to Inside EPA (subscription required) EPA may revise the rules it applies to new permits on impaired waterways. A rulemaking seems far from certain at this point — …

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An Invitation to Review the Supreme Court’s Environmental Record

This has been a blockbuster year in the U.S. Supreme Court for environmental law and policy. In the Term that concludes this month, the justices have decided five major environmental cases, involving many of the nation’s most important environmental laws. Berkeley Law’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE), one of the sponsors of …

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Clean Water Restoration Act clears committee

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works has voted 12-7 to send the Clean Water Restoration Act, S 787, to the full chamber. The bill would reverse the limitations imposed on the scope of the Clean Water Act by the Supreme Court in Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. United States Army …

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National Cotton Council ruling stayed

In National Cotton Council v. EPA, the Sixth Circuit in January overturned an EPA rule exempting pesticides applied in accordance with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) from the Clean Water Act’s permitting requirements. On EPA’s request, the court has now stayed the effect of that ruling until April 9, 2011, giving the …

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Acid oceans coming to a beach, and theater, near you

Global warming has gotten so much attention lately that the public has largely overlooked another, independent consequence of rising CO2 concentrations: acidic oceans.  As discussed by Dan earlier this year, for many years the oceans have been silently absorbing CO2 and thereby buffering against even higher atmospheric GHG levels, staving off more warming — but with potentially devastating consequences …

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Coeur Alaska–A Shifting Legal Position by the Obama Administration?

As the U.S. Supreme Court Term winds down, only one environmental case on the Court’s docket remains undecided: Coeur Alaska v. Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, No. 07-984. That case, which involves the relationship between the Clean Water Act’s water pollution control (NPDES) and its wetlands dredge-and-fill programs, arises in the context of a proposed gold …

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